Doctors Say Extreme Diets Can Work After All -- But There's a Catch

dietingYou know how we've been hearing from doctors that extreme diets don't work? Forget those juice cleanses! Forget starving yourself! They'll just backfire. Well the diet pendulum swings again: Now some doctors are saying semi-starvation diets actually are effective -- but there's a catch.


Doctors usually discourage dieters from extreme diets because people tend to binge eat after the diet -- or that was the accepted wisdom. But a University of Sidney study shows those so-called "low-energy" diets, like the ones that use meal replacement shakes, actually can be quite effective. Dieters in the study stopped binge eating both during and after their diets.

Oh, but that catch I mentioned? This seems to work only for obese people who were binge eating before their diet. So for women who want to drop only ten or so pounds, look elsewhere. Drinking shakes instead of eating is still not recommended.

More from The Stir: The Truth About 'Juice Cleanses' Will Make You NEVER Want to Do One

And thank goodness for that! Who likes starving anyway? I've never understood our national obsession with DRAMA diets. You know what I mean? We can't just cut back on sweets and eat more veggies. No, we have to turn our lives into Biggest Loser and do something extreme or our weight loss efforts are just too gradual and boring.

Slow and steady still wins the race for most of us. 

Still, this is helpful news for people who truly struggle with binge eating. "When clinically supervised, low or very low energy diets are an important treatment option for obesity," says Associate Professor Amanda Salis. "The results from this study show that these diets are not necessarily a trigger for binge eating, although eating behaviour should be monitored during their use." 

Have you ever tried a semi-starvation diet? How did it work?


Image via Kamil Macniak/Shutterstock

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